One more scorching day in the south – on this day I am in Birmingham. I have retreated into the shade at poolside to watch the grandchildren swim and the only coolness in the shade just walked past me. She is at least 85 but with her catlike walk and pitch of her head she appears, in her own mind, to be 40ish. Thankfully I have on my dark sunglasses and can watch as she finds a spot to sit. I have lowered my book along with others around the poolside to watch as she sets about preparing her place to recline. Dappled sunlight acts as a spotlight on her. Ah, the better to see her with. She wears the most sheer, weightless robe that appears to be well worn and fragile. It is floral and on her long grey hair, she has placed a brimmed hat wired with leaves and flowers freshly picked. Poppies on their sturdy stems stand to attention so not to disappoint her. She is the definition of whimsy.
My 3 year old grand daughter, stands beside me now and with child like innocence approaches the object of my attention. I see a wordless exchange of hello between them, and then with a slight touch of fingers it seems as if they formed a mutual admiration society right on the spot. I catch my breath at the sweetness of it and smile to her. She lifts her smiling eyes to me, and presents a poppy to my little one. “My name is Iris” she says. I watch as the years between them part and a cool breeze scatters and swirls the overhead Jasmine flowers around them. They laugh.